Review of “Snatched”

Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) has hit a rough patch with being fired from her retail clothing job and being dumped by her musician boyfriend. The only thing she has to look forward to is a trip to Ecuador she was originally planning on taking with her boyfriend. Now, unable to find anyone to go with her, Emily asks her mom Linda (Goldie Hawn). At first reluctant to even consider asking her, Emily finds a scrapbook her mother has kept showing photos of Linda on adventures in Great Britain and ticket stubs from David Bowie and Rolling Stones concerts she attended in her youth. Now mostly homebound taking care of her cats and her adult son, the agoraphobic Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz), Linda is afraid of the outside world and Emily wants to rekindle the spirit of adventure that once burned within her mother. With great trepidation, Linda decides to go. Constantly wrapped head to toe to avoid the harsh sun, Linda is constantly prodding the bikini-clad Emily to be careful. Having a drink at the bar, Emily is approached by James (Tom Bateman) who takes her out for a wild night on the town including a pop-up party in the jungle. Drunk and deliriously happy, Emily makes plans with James for the next day and he suggests she bring Linda along. While driving through the remote countryside their car is struck by a van knocking Emily and Linda unconscious. Waking up in a makeshift prison cell, the ladies realize they have been kidnapped. Their captor Morgado (Oscar Jaenada) is a ruthless thug that makes his living abducting tourists then demanding a random from their family. Morgado calls Jeffrey and demands $100-thousand for Emily and Linda’s return. Jeffrey contacts the State Department and is told there isn’t anything they can do unless the ladies find their way to a U.S. Consulate. Linda and Emily manage to escape but kill one of Morgado’s men in the process. With no money, no cell phone and no Spanish language skills, the mother/daughter combo must put aside their differences and figure out a way to get home before Morgado takes his revenge for killing one of his men.

Amy Schumer is a powerhouse standup comic and is turning into a bankable movie star. While she is surely polarizing to many in the public, one cannot argue her fearlessness both on stage and on screen. “Trainwreck” made $140-million worldwide and showed she could turn out her fans for the opening of a movie. Never straying far from her in-your-face style of standup, Schumer has bulldozed her way into theatres once again in “Snatched” and while this may not be the box office juggernaut of her debut there is plenty of evidence to show Schumer is on the big screen to stay.

While the mother/daughter-bonding-while-kidnapped premise of “Snatched” is utterly silly, the winning combination of Schumer and Goldie Hawn and their playful yet biting banter overcomes a paper-thin story with the help of some scene-stealing supporting characters played by Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack. The two main players never stumble into annoying territory as their responses to being kidnapped never explode into full blown histrionics.

Schumer seems to be settling into her role as a movie star. It doesn’t hurt that she is playing the same character as you would see in her standup routines: Fearless, clueless and crude. Staying in familiar territory will work well for perhaps one more movie; but after that, Schumer will either need to get with an acting coach to expand her range or expect ever decreasing returns from her next releases.

Goldie Hawn (on whom I admit I had a crush on when I was a child and she was dancing in a bikini and covered in body paint on Laugh-In) feels a bit wooden in her performance as Linda. While the character is frightened of what might be out there in the big, mean world, Hawn seems petrified at times when it isn’t appropriate and unfazed when it is. According to IMDB.com this is Hawn’s first film role in 15 years and I’m sorry to say it somewhat shows.

Despite my issues with Hawn my biggest problem is with Ike Barinholtz as Jeffrey. Actually, it isn’t with Barinholtz performance but with the inclusion of the character. Jeffrey is the kind of character that is best used in the smallest amount possible. Sadly, he is all over “Snatched” even being used as a catalyst for the film’s conclusion. Jeffrey is about the most annoying thing I’ve seen on film in a long time and could have been left out of the film completely. I’m not sure exactly what the point of including him was. He’s used like comic relief but this is billed as a comedy. His overbearing presence is grating on the nerves and I just wanted him to disappear or perhaps out of nowhere be blown to smithereens by an explosion. No explanation, just BOOM and then he’s gone.

One surprise in the film is the presence of Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack as a pair of retired special ops agents called Ruth and Barb. These characters appear to have been plucked from another movie as they don’t seem to fit in the “Snatched” universe; however they are welcome when they arrive and tend to steal every scene they are in. Cusack’s Barb is mute for reasons explained in the film. Her silence is augmented by a brilliant physical performance that speaks louder than any dialog. She and Sykes are an interesting team that might make for an entertaining spinoff film. With the right script I think it would be terrific to see these two tearing up a gang of thugs while wearing their comfortable shoes.

“Snatched” is rated R for crude sexual content, brief nudity and language throughout. The crude sexual content is photos in a pornographic magazine that is briefly shown on camera. There is one brief scene where one of Amy Schumer’s breasts is exposed. Foul language is common throughout.

“Snatched” is a silly and crude adventure/comedy that manages to overcome its ridiculous premise and find some laughs. While it is inconsistent with its humor, unable to decide if it wants to be an adventure or a comedy, and has an annoying and largely unnecessary character, “Snatched” still manages to be amusing enough to be worth your time.

“Snatched” gets four stars out of five.

If you’d like to check out my review of “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” you can find it here:
http://wimz.com/blogs/stan-movie-man/

This week, alien nasties, childhood catastrophes and teen romance angst all try to unseat “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” from the top of the box office charts. I’ll see and review at least one of the following:

Alien: Covenant—

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul—

Everything, Everything—

Follow me on Twitter @moviemanstan and send emails to stanthemovieman@comcast.net.